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Protein For Vegetarians – Surprising 10 Proven Great Sources

Protein for vegetarians is the subject of much exploration. The common misconception is that vegetarian diets lack sufficient protein. Protein source brings ideas of steak, eggs, fish or chicken to our mind. Many of us must understand that many plants and plant food are very high in protein. There are plenty of options for vegetarian or vegan for the recommended amount of protein that our body needs. A well-planned diet can provide vegetarian people with enough protein for their daily needs. Protein is a macronutrient, the building block of our body which gives us energy and is essential to our diet. Protein also promotes muscle strength, satiety and weight loss.

As per nutrient guidelines, men need 56 grams of protein, whereas women need 46 grams of protein. But this amount also depends on other factors such as age, activity level, health conditions etc.

There are many sources which can provide protein for vegetarians

Below we are mentioning the top 10 of them. Do note that vegetarian protein source is not limited to these ten only. There are plenty of options, and one must carefully design their diet to get the most nutrients out of their daily meals.

1.Yoghurt – Protein for vegetarians

Protein for vegetarians
Protein for vegetarians

Yoghurt is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. 100 grams of yoghurt contains almost 23g of protein. Yoghurt is delicious and can be added to fruit, nuts, and granola, providing calcium and probiotics. One should always prefer plain yoghurt over flavoured varieties to avoid added sugar. Homemade yoghurt provides a good quantity of probiotics. Yoghurt aids in the digestion, absorption, and assimilation of the various macro and micro-nutrients.

2. Lentils

Lentils are a powerhouse of protein for vegetarians, and 100 gm of cooked/boiled lentils can provide 9 g of protein. They also offer 8 grams of fibre which is good for the heart, helps keep the stomach full and maintains body weight in check.

3. Chia seeds

100 grams of chia seed provides 16.5 g of protein. Chia seeds deliver protein and give fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds could be blended with smoothies or eaten with bread as chia seed jam.

4. Green peas

Protein for vegetarians
Protein for vegetarians

Another excellent source of protein for vegetarians is green peas. 100 grams of raw green peas can provide 5.42 g of protein. They are delicious and filling. One could enjoy them in soups, salads, or other dishes according to taste and preference.

5. Peanut butter

100 grams of peanut butter contains 24 g of protein. Both peanut and peanut butter contain fibre, protein and healthy fat. Thus, peanut butter provides essential nutrients for our bodies.

6. Almonds

Protein for vegetarians
Protein for vegetarians

Like peanuts, almonds are also rich in protein, healthy fat and fibre. They are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. 100 grams of almonds provide 21.2 g of protein. Almond butter on toast, Water-soaked almond, almond with yoghurt or almond with cornflakes or muesli could help one to start their day with a nutrition boost. Almonds not only incorporate protein into our diet but also helps to control sugar craving and provides essential micronutrients and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants and low in carbs.

7. Milk – the source of protein for vegetarians

Milk is an excellent source of protein and calcium. 100 grams of milk can provide about 3.2 g of protein.

Milk proteins can be divided into two groups depending on their water solubility. Insoluble milk proteins are called casein, and soluble milk proteins are called whey proteins. Both casein and whey protein contains a high proportion of essential amino acids essential for our muscles and body.

Protein for vegetarians
Protein for vegetarians

Casein increases our ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also lowers our blood pressure. Whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Like casein, whey protein also decreases blood pressure. Whey protein also improves mood and stress. It helps muscle growth and is thus very popular among bodybuilders and athletes.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids; hence, it is one of the complete proteins among plant-based protein sources. 100 grams of quinoa can provide almost 4.4 g of protein for vegetarians. It also contains iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, folate and thiamine. Quinoa is also gluten-free.

9. Beans

Beans are one of the less expensive ways to add protein to our diet. Per 100 grams of beans contain 7.05 g of protein for vegetarians, which is also a good source of fibre and iron.

10. Tofu – Protein for vegetarians

Protein for vegetarians
Protein for vegetarians

Tofu is prepared from soybeans, giving 8 grams of protein for vegetarians per 100 gm serving. Therefore, it can replace meat easily and be used as a base for creamy desserts.

How to get protein for vegetarians?

It is a common misconception that a vegetarian diet lacks enough protein. People many a time ask how to get protein as a vegetarian. There is a deep-rooted belief that a vegetarian diet lacks sufficient protein. Dieticians and nutritionists clarify that a vegetarian or even vegan diet can provide one with all the necessary protein one needs. Plant foods contain significantly higher protein than others. Contrary to the common perception that protein means animal-based food, plant-based foods have exceptionally high protein content.

How much protein do I need daily?

Our body cannot store protein, and the body stores the excess protein as fat. Over intake of protein can lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease because many high-protein foods you eat are high in total and saturated fat. 10% to 35% of our daily calories should come from protein. Even at a relatively conservative number, this equates to 56g of protein per day for the average man and 46g for the average woman. People who exercise regularly could have higher needs for protein than a sedentary person. Do note that daily protein requirement depends on factors like age, activity level or illness/disease. We suggest you speak to a dietician to determine the daily protein requirement.

Which vegetable is high in protein?

Vegetables can provide a significant good amount of protein to our daily diet. Our diet can include legumes and vegetables like lima beans, green peas, spinach, sweet corn, artichokes, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, asparagus, broccoli, kale, mushrooms and avocado.

Vegetarian diets are not protein deficient

To sum up, vegetarian diets are not protein deficient. Some excellent protein sources include seeds, nuts, nut butter, dairy products, legumes, and peas. One should consult with a dietician and plan their meal.

References

1. Eat more plant-based proteins to boost longevity. (2020, November 1). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/eat-more-plant-based-proteins-to-boost-longevity

2. FoodData central. (n.d.). Usda.gov. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170419/nutrients

3. Kiely, G. (2022, March 23). The best vegetarian protein sources. BBC Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein-vegetarians

4. McManus, K. D. (2020, February 6). With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/with-a-little-planning-vegan-diets-can-be-a-healthful-choice-2020020618766

5. Papier, K., Tong, T. Y., Appleby, P. N., Bradbury, K. E., Fensom, G. K., Knuppel, A., Perez-Cornago, A., Schmidt, J. A., Travis, R. C., & Key, T. J. (2019). Comparison of major protein-source foods and other food groups in meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters in the EPIC-Oxford cohort. Nutrients11(4), 824. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040824

6. Protein. (2012, September 18). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/

7. Yale experts explain a plant-forward diet. (n.d.). Yale.edu. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://sustainability.yale.edu/explainers/yale-experts-explain-plant-forward-diet

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